Interview with Mr. Ahmad Aweidah

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

Posted

FEAS Secretariat spoke with the Chief Executive Officer of Palestine Exchange Mr. Ahmad Aweidah about the new developments of the capital market, major challenges during the global pandemic and how PEX is handling with them. 

1. How is Palestine Exchange keeping up with the new developments and improvements of the capital market?

Despite the lockdown state that prevailed in Palestine due to Covid-19 outbreak and the decision of the regulator to suspend trading, we maintained a continuous development pace via working remotely from home.  PEX main project is the new trading system” X-Stream “of Nasdaq which was to go live by end of June 2020 but due to the impact of Covid-19 we faced difficulties that left us with no option but to postpone it to September 2020.  We are also working on other systems that will be launched along with “X-Stream” including the new CSD system and Broker Management system that were developed internally by our IT team. 

The new electronic infrastructure will help PEX enhance its product and service offering.

2. What are the major challenges that your organization has faced during the global pandemic?

Our main challenge is to keep our staff safe and to continue working on our development projects. We succeeded by following social distancing and working remotely from home. Other challenges included resuming PEX trading to maintain investor rights after it was halted by our regulator, PEX was always fully equipped for remote working and so are our members.  Holding general assembly meetings was another challenge but amended procedures of the companies’ controller at the ministry of national economy who allowed using virtual meeting applications to ease convening general assemblies. Many companies held their AGM meeting and paid out dividends under lockdown.

3. Does PEX have a business continuity plan or contingency plan in place to handle global outbreaks of pandemics? 

PEX has business continuity and disaster recovery plans to mitigate potential risks that may arise under normal conditions, but this is the first time we face a global pandemic outbreak. Our advanced electronic infrastructure allowed us to adapt quickly to the new circumstances. 

4. Are there any major changes in your organization’s 2020 development plans caused by the pandemic?

The major change is postponing the launch of our new trading system from June to September 2020 along with other related systems. This will delay our plans to offer new trading instruments and services to the business community in Palestine. In addition, activities related to our strategic plan shall be delayed due to the impact of Covid -19 on the economy at large. 

5. In your personal opinion, what will life look like after COVID-19 pandemic? What are the major challenges that humanity will face in the near future?

I think the pandemic outbreak will accelerate digitization in every aspect of life, measures of social distancing will be the norm of the future and health will turn to be the major concern of the countries.  Regarding challenges, I think having a vaccine for Covid -19 will be the main challenge in the near future in addition to keeping a resilient economy that can mitigate the risk of unemployment and recession.

 

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